New director named for Duke’s Nasher Museum of Art

Jun. 20, 2013 @ 09:12 PM

New director named for Duke’s Nasher Museum of Art


From staff reports


DURHAM – Sarah Schroth, the Nancy Hanks senior curator at Duke University’s Nasher Museum of Art, has been named the museum’s new director, the university announced Thursday.

Schroth has served as the museum’s interim director since November, and she succeeds Kimerly Rorschach as the director. Rorschach left Duke to become president of the Seattle Art Museum.

An 11-person committee conducted an international search for the position. The Nasher Museum opened in 2005, and each year, more than 100,000 people visit the 65,000-square-foot museum, according to the release.

“Sarah is one of the most respected and admired curators in the country,” said Duke President Richard Brodhead in a statement. “With her appointment as director, we can be certain of the Nasher’s continued rise as an arts force on campus, in the region, and nationally.”

Schroth, 62, is an expert on Spanish art of the 17th century and joined what was then named the Duke University Museum of Art in 1995. She will report to Provost Peter Lange, the university’s senior academic officer.

“She has worked with me three times as interim director, on each occasion providing excellent leadership while doing two jobs,” Lange said in a statement. “Now that she will be the director, I am anticipating continued outstanding and innovative programming in this next phase of the Nasher's development into one of the pre-eminent university museums in the country and the world.”

During her time at Duke, Schroth has organized shows ranging from old masters to contemporary art, including the award-winning 2008 exhibition, “El Greco to Velázquez: Art during the Reign of Philip III.” As a result of that exhibition, which she organized with the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Schroth was named knight-commander in the Order of Isabel la Católica by King Juan Carlos I of Spain.

Schroth told The Herald-Sun that the “El Greco to Velázquez” exhibit was one of the highlights during her past 18 years with the museum.

“It was really just incredible that everyone just pitched in and made it happen,” she said. “It was really a miraculous event, that we we got those things here in Durham.”

She also has collaborated on exhibitions with the Museo del Prado in Madrid, the Seattle Art Museum and others, has published widely and has worked closely with Duke faculty to shape their projects into exhibitions, according to the release.

Before coming to Duke, Schroth worked at the Kimbell Museum in Fort Worth, Texas; the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; and the Ackland Art Museum at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She majored in art history at Mary Washington College and, after working at the Atlanta College of Art and living in Spain, earned her Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University.

“We need to get down to it and really figure out the best way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this amazing institution,” Schroth said, making reference to Nasher Museum’s 10th anniversary coming up in 2015. “I think I have to replace the curator that I was, so I’ll be searching for another curator, that’s on my mind. And I’ve got some long-term-view plans.

“They have to do with integrating Nasher into Duke’s mission about transforming the arts at Duke and at teaching the humanities in a new and exciting way. I want the Nasher to play a part in both of those missions, and I think we can.”